Amazon Launches Travel Booking Portal for Domestic India Flights
Ahh, Amazon. Back in the day, the online retailer was known as a virtual marketplace for books. Then it expanded to a few other things. And then a few more. Today, much of the world relies on Amazon for just about everything, from two-hour deliveries to Whole Foods groceries.
Add "flights to India" to that shopping list. In partnership with Indian online travel agency Cleartrip, the retail giant began offering domestic flights within India this week.
To access the flights, Amazon users must navigate to Amazon.in, the India-specific country page. Your usual US login works for this page, and the flights can be found under Amazon Pay by clicking on "Explore more from Amazon Pay" (marked with a red arrow in the screenshot below).
Flights took a little while to load, at least when TPG tested the service Friday:
But once the page loaded, a number of filters along the sidebar offered a selection experience very similar to shopping for regular products on Amazon:
Participating airlines include Air India, IndiGo, Vistara, GoAir, SpiceJet and AirAsia India as of the time of this post, with one-way flights on low-cost carriers beginning at around $40 USD.
To celebrate the new travel launch, Amazon India is also offering a promotional rebate of up to 2,000 rupees, worth $28.44 USD as of the time of this post. The refund amount is relative to the booking total, and is available to both Prime and non-Prime members, who receive a lower discount. According to the check-out page, the refund will be added to your Amazon Pay balance within 48 hours of completed booking. Travelers will also see a nominal percentage-based convenience fee added at checkout; for a ~$130 round-trip ticket, the fee was around $5.
India is a key-growth market for Amazon, with around 100 million Prime members throughout the massive nation of nearly 1.4 billion. Cash back is a popular incentive for online retailers in India, according to Skift, and the initial promotion no doubt is designed to target budget-conscious shoppers.
This isn't Amazon's first foray into travel booking. In 2014, the online retailer attempted to launch a hotel booking platform. However, the effort was shuttered about a year after its launch due to poor response and performance. But responses might be different now: In 2018, Travel Wire Asia discovered that 44% of surveyed consumers would book travel via Amazon if it were an option today, and TPG Lounge members offered similar responses.